When Kelley Blackston’s husband gave her a puppy some years back she never dreamed the dog would one day literally lead her out of one career and into another.
Abbey the golden retriever turned out to be more than a handful, both hyperactive and obsessive compulsive. “She ate our couch. It was awful,” she recalls. The first year teacher knew something had to happen fast. She and Abbey enrolled in an obedience class where they both excelled. The dog was bright, learned quickly and Kelley found that she took to the process as naturally as Abbey might take to water. She began teaching a class of her own and boarding the occasional dog for a friend. Over the better part of a decade a steady domino effect eventually led to the creation of Beaufort Dog. Part doggie daycare, part canine academy the original facility at 1307 Boundary Street has proved successful enough to spin off a second location in trendy, upscale Habersham.
Meanwhile Kelley credits the success of the concept to a number of things including a lack of similar facilities and dog parks in the area and the results she and her staff get from daily interaction with their fury charges. “It all ties into obedience issues,” she says. “If your dog is well exercised and mentally stimulated they’re not going to get into things they otherwise would and they’re going to live longer and be healthier.”
Daycare dogs are evaluated and separated into appropriate playgroups and rotated through a supervised series of areas and activities during the day including a pretty impressive water park. “We open that up to the public on Saturdays,” says Kelley. Dogs who don’t mix well or may be too old for the more rambunctious play get their own private “suite.”
A lot of business comes from vacationers looking for a break or a bath for a dog who may have soaked up a bit too much of the marsh. “We also get a lot of Parris Island graduate’s families,” says Kelley, “because they haven’t seen their animal in weeks. The families bring them here and the marines get to drive home with their dogs.”
Go online to get more information on all the services Beaufort Dog has to offer including agility training and special dietary seminars at www.beaufortdog.com or call 843.812.5394